, Volume 287, Issue 3-4, pp 179-187
Date: 13 Jun 2010

Reproduction of the West Mediterranean endemic Arum pictum (Araceae) on Corsica

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Pollination in the genus Arum appears to be in general a complex deceptive pollination process. The genus Arum is composed of 28 species, all belonging to the subgenus Arum, except A. pictum, the only species of the subgenus Gymnomesium, which is basal and sister to all other Arum species. The aim of this paper is to document the pollination ecology of the insular Arum pictum, the only Arum species to flower in autumn, on the island of Corsica (France). The anthesis cycle of A. pictum occurs during the day, attracting sphaerocerid flies and staphylinid beetles early in the morning and late in the afternoon of the first day. The pollen is released from the anthers early in the morning of the second day before the departure of the insects. Its thermogenic cycle matches the anthesis cycle with an original and unique, bimodal temperature pattern of the appendix (morning and afternoon), contrary to the unimodal pattern found in all other studied Arum species. Data from reproductive success and seed sets suggest that sexual reproduction in this species is limited by pollen (e.g. attracting lured insects) rather than by resources. The biology of this Western Mediterranean species appears to be different from other Western European Arum and close to some Eastern Mediterranean species. Further studies are needed to establish whether Arum pictum represents some ancestral stage or whether its peculiar biological traits are adapted to its insular distribution.